Each Spring, a large Century Link teacher grant is awarded to 30 Colorado teachers. Find out why, as a former teacher, I think education is the key to the future.
My Love Of Learning
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love learning. From my earliest years, I remember my parents fostering at love of learning in our home by providing us and endless supply books, art supplies, and science experiments. My love of learning also translated into a love of school- not only as a student, but then as a teacher.
Since education was a given in my house- it was understood that all of us kids would graduate high school and go to college, I didn’t fully understand it’s power until I began teaching African American and Latino high school students in low income schools. For many of my students, education was the only way out- if they could overcome numerous personal and societal obstacles in order to make it “out.”
Why Education Is Important
So I’m proud to partner with Century Link to write this post on what education means to me. When I first entered the classroom as a high school Spanish 1 teacher in a public high school with a high number of Latino students, many native Spanish speakers were placed in my classroom because no one knew where to put them. My students could speak Spanish perfectly- for many it was their first language- but they were unable to read and write the language. This meant that many students faced losing career and scholarship opportunities to white counterparts who could read and write in both Spanish and English.
Education to me means choice- it’s the opportunity to make a wide variety of career and financial choices thanks to the leveled playing field that a high school and/or college education affords. And my Native Speakers in a Spanish 1 class learning numbers and colors were not going to have choice after leaving my classroom.
Spanish For Native Speakers
That’s why I created a unique program called Spanish for Spanish speakers for high school students. I took their literacy standards in English and mirrored the same skills and outcomes for them to learn in Spanish- in a setting apart from their monolingual English speaking classmates. We studied memoir using the novel Senderos Fronterizos by Francisco Jimenez; we studied expat identity and it’s impact on second generation latinos by reading El cuaderno de Maya by Isabel Allende, and we learned about the prolific Chilean poet Pablo Neruda through the eyes of his postman in the novel El Cartero de Neruda. My three year program culminated in the students taking the AP Spanish Language Exam- for which I had a 100% pass rate for Latino students. This meant starting college with up to 20 hours of Spanish credit- a game changer for many of my students.
How To Win a Century Link Teacher Grant
Teachers can’t do their jobs without lots of support- and financial support is super important for teachers. Century Link is committed to supporting Colorado teachers as well, offering an annual Teachers in Technology grant that awarded $145,000 in grant money to 30 teachers across Colorado. Teachers wrote grant proposals for innovative technology that make a difference for their students- and Century Link awarded $80,000 to Denver teachers alone on May 9th. Additionally, Century Link ensures internet access across Colorado by providing internet access to rural schools, businesses and homes.
Stay tuned for Century Link teacher grants- they release applications each fall and award monies in the Spring. You can find out more information on all donor programs from the Century Link Foundation here.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of CenturyLink. The opinions and text are all mine.